My Garden

Many of my friends at work and church know that I have a garden and have been producing vegetables for the past couple years. I get questions about what I’m growing and how the season is going from time to time, so I figured: what better place to discuss this passion of mine?  Afterall, this is one of the main reasons for my initial interest in going to Thailand.

From left: Carrot, Green Leaf, Spinach, Beet, Radish
From left: Carrot, Green Leaf, Spinach, Beet, Radish

For those unfamiliar with general gardening information, San Diego is perhaps one of the best places to live if you want to grow almost everything.  Aside from cherry trees, which require a very large cold-snap (long periods of time below freezing), just about everything you want can be grown at various times of the year.  A few crops can be grown year round if you’re growing outdoors (not in a greenhouse): carrots, potatoes, and other root varieties for instance.  Summer crops consist of tomatoes, beans, peppers, squash, melon, strawberries, etc.  And my favorite season to grow, winter, offers all the greens(!), as well as broccoli, brussel sprouts and peas.  Caveat: this is meant to be a rudimentary introduction to gardening and not a thorough overview.

Far Box: Green Leaf, Perpetual Spinach, Green Pepper (that survived the winter!) Near Box: Lettuce varieties, Broccoli
Far Box: Green Leaf, Perpetual Spinach, Green Pepper (that survived the winter!)
Near Box: Lettuce varieties, Broccoli

I, like many front-yard gardeners these days, use the above ground garden box approach.  I constructed the boxes myself from rough-cut 2×10 cedar planks attched to 2×4 cedar planks.  When making garden boxes, redwood and cedar are the woods to use for their general affordability and their unparalleled water-resistance.  Never use pressure-treated woods as the chemicals used to treat them will leech into the soil and, thus, your food.  Before installing the boxes, I placed a drip line underground with 6 access points, one for each box.  At this point, each box can be manually turned off so that I water only boxes that are producing.  I also have my fruit trees and butterfly garden on separate irrigation systems.

Sweet Peas on tomato trellises, Blackberry bushes on trellis in background
Sweet Peas on tomato trellises, Blackberry bushes on trellis in background

Unlike a large portion of the USA, San Diego and a large part of California, yields abundant winter crops during this season.  This is probably why I love the winter so much.  There’s just something so energizing and awe-inspiring about working in the dirt, planting some seeds, tending to the sprouts and enjoying the produce.  It still gives me a sense of wonder five years after my first garden at our house.  Imagine being able to go out into your front yard whenever you need some herbs, lettuce for a salad, or kale for your smoothy.  After my first successful year of growing lettuce, I almost completely stopped buying lettuce in the stores as the taste couldn’t compare to the fresh lettuce from my front yard. Many have asked what I’m growing right now, so here is the list.

  • Lettuce: Romaine, Red Leaf, Green-Leaf, Salad Bowl
  • Spinach: Perpetual, Bloomsdale
  • Bok-Choy
  • Kale: Red Russian (good for salads), Blue (like what you find in the store)
  • Beets
  • Radish
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Pea
  • Onion: Yellow, Green
  • Broccoli

Last year I attempted and failed to grow Brussel Sprouts and Celery, so I opted to not grow them this year.  I did well with cabbage, but the seeds I planted this year didn’t take.

The window seal garden: basil, cilantro, tomato, sage, thyme
The window seal garden: basil, cilantro, tomato, sage, thyme

Inside the house, I have a few garden pots with herbs since they don’t tend to do well in the colder temps.  I currently have cilantro, basil, thyme and sage.  I planted oregano, but the seeds never sprouted.  Instead, some volunteer cherry tomatoes came up.  They should do well as a transplant in the spring!

So that about does it.  I still have a lot to learn.  Each vegetable and fruit require a large amount of knowledge to care for correctly, and I have barely scratched the surface.  I’ve come to accept that 1) I will never know it all and 2) I will never stop learning all I can.  I guess I don’t have a choice if I’m going to manage a farm in western Thailand, eh?  Well, here’s to the Good Life!

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